According to various reports, it seems that seven-in-ten Americans feel “worn out” by the news. This has been resulting in thirty-eight percent of us, sometimes avoiding the news as much as possible. When we see the political difficulties, the natural disasters, some of the horrifying stories, how hard it is for many around the globe to merely survive, the news does not often brighten our day. But around the world, ordinary citizens and courageous leaders are working to make the world a better place. One of these people is a man who is matching blind and deaf dogs with Veterans.
Joel Rocky, the founder of the Veteran Friends Foundation spent five years in the Navy. He served in Iraq and Afghanistan. After returning home, he wanted to lead a life where he could focus on something which offered him a real passion.
One day he found his vision! This was due to stumbling upon an aged dog, looking lonely and abandoned in a freezing snowstorm. He took the dog home. He spent the following days nursing the stray back to health. He soon learned the badly injured dog was deaf as well as blind. Unfortunately, the dog lived just for a few months. Even so, Rocky put forth great effort to make sure the dogs’ last days were filled with love, attention, and the affection it deserved. As a result, he also realized that the remaining life of a senior dog isn’t so important. Instead, what mattered were the last moments a dog spent in a warm environment in a caring home.
Rocky visited several shelters and learned that it is challenging for a senior dog to get adopted. This was when he realized he could personally make a significant difference. That is when he brought his Veteran buddies together. Then they formed Veteran Friends Foundation.
Veterans run the nonprofit. It is helping ex-service members, many who suffer from isolation and post-traumatic stress disorder, with senior dogs. The dogs are rescued from the overcrowded shelters – many of them could potentially be euthanized. Since many Veterans live alone, and some of them do not have family or friends living nearby, they frequently become isolated and lonely due to their lack of connection. Often, because of their PTSD, their social interactions can also become difficult for them.
Since beginning their project in 2016, they have found homes for more than 130 dogs, all in shelters, coming from across the US. First, the dog is evaluated for medical needs. Then the dog is evaluated for his/her personality. Once this is completed, the dog is good to go. Since many Veterans have a limited income, the organization takes care of the pet’s medical bills for the rest of its life.
Rocky realizes that senior dogs make such great pets for Veterans because they are laid-back, relaxed, and calm. Rocky’s organization is based in Detroit. However, some volunteers are working on expanding their mission. Aside from Michigan, they are now located in Ohio, Missouri, and California.
These dogs are now helping to give a sense of purpose and connection for American war veterans – something we all need.